EU sanctions Iran, warns more to come over Ukraine attacks


European Union foreign ministers have agreed a set of asset freezes and travel bans on Iran over crackdown on protests.

Several EU ministers on Monday (Oct 17) also called for sanctions against Iran over the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia.

A spate of Russian attacks on Kyiv using Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones in recent weeks, and reports on Monday say Tehran was responsible for the “murders of Ukrainians”.

Iran denies supplying drones to Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin has not commented.

“I think it (new sanctions) should be worked out immediately,” Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told Reuters as the bloc’s foreign ministers were due to discuss the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia.

Reinsalu said Kyiv’s reports on the Iranian origin of the drones should be taken seriously, with sanctions acting as a deterrent to show “this has consequences”.

France and Germany, both parties to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, have also made it clear they believed new sanctions in connection to the drones were necessary and that the drone transfers should be seen as a violation of a UN Security Council resolution.

The EU could move towards imposing new sanctions against Iran over the matter, according to two diplomats involved in preparing talks among the ministers, though no detailed decisions were expected on Monday.

“Iranian drones are used apparently to attack in the middle of Kyiv, this is an atrocity,” Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said as he arrived at the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, urging a response.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc would look for hard evidence about Iran’s role.

Meanwhile, the EU foreign ministers added 11 Iranians and four institutions, including Iran’s morality police chief, to a travel ban and asset freeze list for their role in the crackdown on protests after the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

“Unanimous decision today to take action against those in #Iran responsible for the death of #MahsaAmini and violent repression of peaceful protests,” Borrell tweeted.

Tehran says it is keeping order against foreign-instigated troublemakers.

Additional EU sanctions on Iran will not be limited to blacklisting some individuals should Tehran’s involvement in Russia’s war on Ukraine be proven, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said. (Source: CNA)